Saturday, September 6, 2014

Monumental

Originally posted November 8, 2011. Slightly revised.

I've been to Washington D.C. several times. My sister loves history and art and pretty things so we would always go there for her birthday. It's a beautiful place. I love it up there.
   
If you know anything about the USA's capital it's that it's full of monuments. Some for past presidents and some others for great men of America. But these monuments are HUGE. My personal favorite is the Washington Memorial. This monument is the tallest structure in D.C.—in fact, it is illegal to construct anything higher than it in the city. Just looking at it makes you feel so small and makes the man that it represents looks so important. I mean, George Washington was more than our first President, he was a Founding Father and a model American for us to follow for the rest of history. 

My question is, Washington is great, but God is greater. Right? However, why is it that Washington got a towering monument, but God didn't?

Where is God's monument?

I'm gonna let my imagination run wild with this one. If God ever had a monument, it would be the epitome of "gigantic". Thousands of feet tall. Thousands of miles wide. Millions and millions of tons. With golden walls covered in diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and other precious jewels. Overflowing with water, towers of smoke, and the whole Bible in its original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek written in letters hundreds of feet high wrapped completely around it. It could be seen from the moon as a golden dot as large as a period (.) and as shiny as a lightning bug. That would definitely be a memorial for the King! 
   
Or maybe we already have one. Maybe it's something like the canyons, or the oceans, or the mountain ranges... perhaps the star constellations and supernovae. Maybe God's made His own monument and put it in nature.
   
Paul (the apostle, not me) mentions God's memorial twice* in his first letter to the Corinthians, both of them begin with the phrase, "Do you not know...". So apparently it is very obvious where His memorial is. But people (including us) look for something in the smallest nooks and crannies, under every sheet of paper, and behind every spec of dust to find the answer to our question when really, most of the time, it is right under our noses, in the most obvious place there is. It's the same way with God's monument. So here is what Paul says:

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
(1 Corinthians 3:16)

You are the monument. You remind others of God. You are the high tower that people look at to notice the His greatness. No, you aren't made of gold and precious stones, but you are God's choice in being His monument to stand out and tell everyone who He is and what He's done.
   
God is monumental and you are His monument. A monument to represent the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That is why He made you: to "show off" Jesus. If that is not how you live, then you aren't living for what you were put here for. 
   
And get this, if you're a monument, you aren't the only one. There are millions of them all over the place. Some are overseas. Some are at your church. Some in your neighborhood. Every true Christian is a monument for Gods glory! Isn't that cool?

Christian, you were made to be His monument. Non-Christian, you were made to be His monument. And he's worth it. He didn't found a country, but He found the lost. He created You for that purpose, loved you so much, and gave you His Son to take the punishment for your sin.

If we aren't showing the world the saving power of Jesus Christ, then what are we showing? We're all a monument for something. Be a monument for someone who is truly worthy of it.

*1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What Is a Christaholic?


A few days ago, I decided to Google "christaholic," just for kicks and giggles. Good news is, this blog is on the first page. Bad news is, I found a quote that could give some trouble for understanding was Christaholism is. Now, I'm sure that myself and the author of the quote didn't know of each other and coined the same term and then gave them different meanings, but the point stands that I now feel obligated to define what exactly I mean when I say "Christaholic" to disperse any future confusion. I have not been able to find the original source of this article, but there are several places on the web where you can find the following:


Many Christians are only “Christaholics” and not disciples at all. Disciples are cross-bearers; they seek Christ. Christaholics seek happiness. Disciples dare to discipline themselves, and the demands they place on themselves leave them enjoying the happiness of their growth. Christaholics are escapists looking for a shortcut to nirvana. Like drug addicts, they are trying to “bomb out” of their depressing world. There is no automatic joy. Christ is not a happiness capsule; He is the way to the Father. But the way to the Father is not a carnival ride in which we sit and do nothing while we are whisked through various spiritual sensations. (Miller, Calvin. The Taste of Joy. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 17.)

The way that Calvin Miller defines Christaholic here is as someone who goes to Jesus to escape the trials of life and uses Him to give themselves happiness. Now, since the term "Christaholic" is completely made up, there is no wrong or right definition. I'm sure Miller made this term unaware of my blog (either that, or I made up the term unaware of his article), and so there should be no brash conflict over the definition. I'm not saying Miller is wrong and I'm not condemning him for something that he didn't mean to do (or perhaps I didn't intend to do it... I don't know.) In fact, for the definition that Miller gives the word, he is absolutely %11,008 right.

Christaholics, using Miller's definition, only care about their own happiness. What matters to them is escaping their crappy life by using inspirational Jesus-quotes and worship services to recharge their hedonistic batteries and give themselves Spirit highs. And it is most certainly true that many people in our pews are like that.

Christaholics, using my definition, only care about Jesus. My definition of Christaholic is "a person who is addicted to God," hence the subtitle "The God Addiction." An addiction is be "enthusiastically devoted to a particular thing or activity." Therefore, when we have a "God addiction," we are enthusiastically devoted to Him, making Christaholic nearly synonymous with discipleTherefore, a formal definition would be:


Chri•sta•hol•ic: (KRIE-stah-hawl-ik) A person who is enthusiastically devoted to God.


To offer Biblical definitions:

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 – but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.

Hebrews 12:1-2 – Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Psalm 42:1-2 – As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 73:25-28 – Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.

Philippians 3:7-11 – But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

So, no. When I say that Christians should be Christaholics, I am not saying that we should become hedonistic theists. However, I am saying that we should find our joy in Christ, we should be enthusiastically devoted to Him, we should depend on Him, we should love Him above all else, we should be addicted to Him!

But then again, it's not uncommon for one word to have different meanings... just look at the word run.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Who He Is: Part 1

Originally posted March 13, 2011. Completely rewritten and revised.


Drugs, alcohol, sex, food, video games, shopping... these are all things that people get addicted to, and there are many more. In this culture, we always stop and look for something to love—something to become our addiction. And the thing is, we always look to stuff like that. Earthly things that can be taken away from us. Small things that give us happiness for a little while until it fades away the next second and waits for us to do it again. That's apparently what we, as sinful humans, like.

But what about Jesus? Why do we have so few Christ addicts, when He is literally the only thing that can give us eternal joy? (1 Peter 1:8-9)

I don't know. I can't speak for the hearts and desires of the majority of the world population. But, I can give you a very supported idea.

Have you ever asked someone the question: "Who is God?" I've watched documentaries, I've read books, I've even done some asking myself with this question. I've found that the majority of people who are asked to define who God is don't answer it correctly. I mean, they have a general idea of who He is, but they use a language that dumbs Him down... a language that underestimates His power and glory. This makes me believe that the reason why so many people don't choose to be God addicts is because they don't know who God is. (Romans 1:21,25)

So, who is God? That's a big question that deserves a big answer...

1) God is a Trinity
Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14

You've probably heard of the Trinity before, and you probably know that it's kind of confusing. There is one God (Isaiah 45:5), yet three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three Persons are completely God (Philippians 1:2, Colossians 2:9, Acts 5:3-4), yet each are separate. This is a paradox that cannot be explained with complete accuracy, however it is true. But don't let it's mystery convince you that God is a hoax, let it convince you that God is great. Even His being is too amazing for us to comprehend. It's an idea that we can't logically wrap our minds around. Shouldn't that say something about God? Shouldn't that say something about us? God is unfathomably higher than we are. The things that we see as paradoxes, God understands fully because His understanding is infinite. (Psalm 145:3, 147:5, Isaiah 40:28)

2) God is a Spirit
John 4:24

This may seem like an irrelevant piece of trivia, but it actually means much more than what most people find it as. Sure, God is not made of material things (He made material things! Genesis 1:1), but the fact that He is Spirit means several different things that are important for us to know. He is living (Psalm 42:2, 84:2, 1 Thessalonians 1:9) He is invisible, as in we cannot perceive Him with our senses, (Colossians 1:15, John 1:18) and He is immortal (or everlasting) (1 Timothy 6:16, Psalm 100:5). These things are important because, if our God is not living, we would be serving a dead God; if our God is not invisible, then we could not have faith; if our God is not everlasting, then we are worshiping a God who will eventually pass away.

3) God is King
2 Chronicles 20:6, Psalm 47:2,7

God rules. There is nothing you can say or do against God and His will (Isaiah 14:27, Daniel 4:35). He is sovereign. That word, sovereign, means "possessing supreme or ultimate power." God has that (1 Chronicles 29:11-12) Because God is sovereign, all things happen either because He planned it to happen or because He allows it to happen. Even the bad things of this world, the evil and the suffering and the pain, are under His control, and God will one day rid the world of those evils (Revelation 21:4); He can do that because He has ultimate authority over everything. This begs the question: why is God waiting? Why hasn't He destroyed evil yet? I don't know. God's sovereign. He has His reasons and He has His plans. We can trust Him knowing that He's in control!

4) God is glorious
Psalm 24:8, 104:1

Glory refers to power, majesty, beauty, and magnificence. The best way to prove and explain the glory of God is to look at His creation. God is the creator of the world (Genesis 1:1, John 1:3) and His creation proclaims best His beauty and glory (Psalm 19:1, Romans 1:20). When you look up at the sky, I guarantee you that you'll see at least one of three things: you either see the sun, the moon, or clouds (or on a rare occasion, right before the full moon on a partly cloudy day, all three!) Let me tell you something about the sun, moon, and clouds; the three most common sights that every seeing human being observes in the sky. The sun is a star, 330,000 times larger than the earth, made of plasma and magnetic fields, responsible for providing light and heat to the earth and sustaining all life by it's role in the rain cycle and photosynthesis. The moon is a spherical rock that revolves around earth, responsible for tides and the stabilization of our planet's rotation; plus, we would basically have no calendar without it. Clouds are large puffs of billions of water droplets that not only provide the earth with water (giving us things like food and... well, water), but also help maintain earth's temperature. Three beautiful, wonderful and powerful things—they were all created by God to give us just a glimpse of His glory.

5) God loves us
John 4:7-8, Psalm 86:15

We like to toss this phrase around a lot without actually grasping the intensity of the love that God shows us. Not only does He provide (Philippians 4:19), protect (2 Samuel 22:3), and care for us (1 Peter 5:7), But He also sent God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to die for us (Romans 5:8). See, we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and we therefore all deserve death (Romans 6:23). But God, in His abounding love and mercy put our punishment onto Jesus who deserved no death. He did not die on any cross, He died on our cross, so that we wouldn't have to (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:4-5, 1 John 4:9-11). That's the Gospel. That is the grace we are saved by. God is offering us the gift of salvation from the punishment of sins. All we need to do is believe and accept it (Romans 10:9)!

Can drugs do that? Can sex do that? Can money do that? Can food do that? Whatever you think about when you first wake up, whatever you spend your time and money on, whatever you care about and talk about and worry about, is it even close to who God is? What is more valuable, the things of the world or the Creator of the world? The difference between a God addiction and an addiction to anything else is that God is actually worth it; He's worth our time, our money, our thoughts, our desires... He's worth everything.

And God thinks you are worth His Son's blood. He loves you and He wants you. The reason He created you was so that He could love you and so that you can love Him back. God created you to be a Christaholic. Why would you ever want anything different?


Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, 
the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:17